Australia is renowned for being a beautiful sunny nation, and also a large, hot and dry one. With long summers, and more than 70% of the country being classified as either arid or semi arid, the threat of bushfires is ever present.
Western Australia is certainly no exception, with much of the state being arid or semi arid, and the remainder of the state prone to long dry periods, which can create even more dangerous bushfire conditions after periods of sustained rainfall.
Thousands of rural homes install rainwater tanks for fire protection, and it is becoming more and more commonplace for shires and councils to set requirements for a certain amount of water storage for bushfire protection mandatory in a bushfire prone area.
One of the major uses of Pioneer’s steel water tanks is for the purpose of bushfire protection, and have stood the test of time in both simulated and real life bushfire scenarios.
In 2006, the Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre (or Bushfire CRC), in conjunction with the CSIRO, undertook testing of a range of water storage tanks available in Australia to see their performance in a fire front.
Under simulated bushfire conditions, the Pioneer Water Tanks was the only tank that withstood the full 30 minute flame immersion and maintained its full structural integrity, despite extreme and prolonged heat.
This is crucial as a water tanks’ ability to hold water despite extreme temperatures could prove vital in fire fighting efforts, particularly after the fire front has passed.
When a bushfire passed through Kangaroo Island, there couldn’t have been a more perfect visual representation of the importance of a Pioneer Water Tank, as the poly water tanks on the site melted into a puddle at the foot of the Pioneer tanks which maintained their structural integrity.
When there is a fire emergency, either on your property or nearby, it is vital that fire fighters have access to reliable water sources to fill trucks, or even to fit a hose directly to in order to help contain any fire threat.
Often tanks and helicopters will fill from dams, but these are often difficult to access and less reliable. A large rainwater tank can provide an easy and fast way to refill or access water reserves.
Depending on how much area is available on your property, and the roof area you are using to harvest rainwater, you may choose to install a rainwater tank that is surplus to your day-to-day needs, in order to store more water for bushfire protection.
One way Pioneer has developed to ensure that there will always be access to water for fire fighting purposes is to provide the option of a fire reserve for your rainwater tank, which can be customised to meet your shire or council’s requirements.
This is done by installing the outlet that leads to your home or irrigation higher up the tank wall, and having the fire valve alone at the bottom of the tank, meaning that you are unable to use more than a certain amount of the tank capacity.
The amount of water contained in the fire reserve will be dependent on how high you install your main outlet valve, and how large your water tank is, but can provide a great and functional alternative to installing a separate tank for fire protection.
Pioneer Water Tanks have a range of fire fittings available as optional accessories for your rainwater storage tank, and if you are unsure what the appropriate fire fitting is for your bushfire protection tank, call your local council or even contact your local Pioneer Water Tanks dealer to confirm.
These fire fittings allow your local fire department or volunteer firefighters to easily access your water supply to help in their firefighting efforts. All fire fittings should be metal so as to not melt or take damage from flames, and easily accessible for fire fighting services.
It is essential to your bushfire protection to have your water tank placed at an accessible location that is close to your house and at a level that allows water to flow from your gutters into the tank.
In advance of any bushfire season, ensure that you clear any flammable vegetation or materials near the tank. The tank should have non-combustible fire valves and fire fittings and the access hatch should be positioned in a place that allows easy access for turning around.
In the event of a bushfire, the loss of mains power is a potential concern. To prepare for this, it is necessary to have a generator or a petrol/diesel pump that can provide water to your home during a power outage. When using a generator, it is important to have one with a capacity of at least 1.5 kVa to power an electric water pump.
For more information on how you can better prepare for a bushfire scenario, you can access Pioneer Water Tanks handy Bushfire Protection eBook here.
When looking to purchase a water tank for fire protection, you may want to install a larger water tank size than your water storage requirements may otherwise call for, in order to have sufficient water supply for a bushfire emergency.
Typically Pioneer Water Tanks recommends a minimum 50,000L of water storage, plus an additional 30,000L for each additional person living within the home, so you would want to calculate your fire reserve on top of this figure.
In order to calculate how much water you can harvest from your roof or rainwater harvesting area (the roof of your house, plus any sheds or other buildings you have gutters on), it is a simple equation of average annual rainfall (mm) x total roof area (m²) = rainwater harvesting ability (L). This is an important figure to know if you are looking to maximise your water storage for bushfire protection.
The Litres/Gallons stated above are gross capacities. Actual useable volume will vary depending on the size and position of inlets and outlets.
As well as providing the leading water storage solutions for bushfire protection, Pioneer primarily sell liner tanks for your home, helping the tens of thousands of rural homes and properties across Australia with no access to mains water have a reliable and long lasting source of clean, fresh water.
With a range of colours, sizes and accessories, and more than fifty dealers and installers in locations all across Australia, Pioneer Water Tanks can help you meet your water storage and rainwater harvesting needs. For more information on rainwater tanks for your home, click here.
Pioneer Water Tanks are designed to not only comply with, but exceed Australian standards for water storage, ensuring that your water tank is durable and long lasting, but also keeps your water fresh and clean for your family, pets and animals.
If you need water storage for fire protection, or want some information on how you can improve your property’s bushfire preparedness; give get in touch with us on 1800 999 599, or by simply clicking here to request a quote for a rainwater tank today, and one of our dealers will be in touch with your customised water tank pricing.
AS2304 is the proposed Australian Standard for Water storage tanks for fire protection systems. This Standard sets out the minimum requirements for the design, construction, installation, commissioning and maintenance of bolted steel water tanks for the storage of water for fire protection systems.
All Pioneer Water Tanks can be designed to these requirements for fire water storage, as well as AS2419 for fire hydrant installations.
The best way to calculate what size water tank you require is first to calculate how much water you use annually, add the amount of fire protection water reserve you want, and then add roughly 10,000L to that. You don’t want to find yourself running out of water.
When it comes to how much water you can harvest, a simple rule of thumb is to multiply your rainwater harvesting roof area by your annual average rainfall, and you will be able to calculate the amount of rainwater you can harvest annually from there.
Pioneer Water Tanks have been assessed to be the best water tanks for fire performance by the CSIRO in conjunction with the Bushfire CRC, who conducted extensive bushfire simulations and performance assessments on Pioneer Water Tanks and poly tanks.
Pioneer’s range of steel rainwater tanks for homes and bushfire protection are designed to hold up to 500,000L of water, and can be designed even larger for certain commercial or industrial builds with certain specifications. You can also put several large steel water tanks side by side (much in the way some people do with poly water tanks) and connect the containers, as such increasing your overall water storage capacity – something done by many who increase their water storage years down the line.
Typically you will only need to ensure that you have all steel outlets, and that at least one of your fire fittings meets the local requirements for bushfire connections. You can find out what connection you need by contacting your local shire or rural fire service, or getting in touch with your local Pioneer dealer.